Ezekiel 47:1-2, 8-9, 12
Ps 46:2-3, 5-6, 8-9
1 Corinthians 3:9c-11, 16-17
USCCB Podcast of the Readings:
A reading from the Holy Gospel according to John.
Since the Passover of the Jews was near,
Jesus went up to Jerusalem.
He found in the temple area those who sold oxen, sheep, and doves,
as well as the money-changers seated there.
He made a whip out of cords
and drove them all out of the temple area, with the sheep and oxen,
and spilled the coins of the money-changers
and overturned their tables,
and to those who sold doves he said,
“Take these out of here,
and stop making my Father’s house a marketplace.”
His disciples recalled the words of Scripture,
Zeal for your house will consume me.
At this the Jews answered and said to him,
“What sign can you show us for doing this?”
Jesus answered and said to them,
“Destroy this temple and in three days I will raise it up.”
The Jews said,
“This temple has been under construction for forty-six years,
and you will raise it up in three days?”
But he was speaking about the temple of his Body.
Therefore, when he was raised from the dead,
his disciples remembered that he had said this,
and they came to believe the Scripture
and the word Jesus had spoken.
Good News Reflection: The heart of the temple
You are God’s building, says today’s second reading, because Jesus Christ is your foundation. However, when we build our daily life upon this foundation without the bricks and tools that are from God, our construction — our relationship with God and with others — cracks, weakens, and even collapses.
You are God’s temple, because the Holy Spirit dwells in you. In the Old Testament days, the temple was made of stone and mortar, and people visited it on pilgrimages. God’s Spirit dwelled in the heart of this structure, a room called the holy of holies into which no human could enter except the high priest once a year on the Day of Atonement when a blood offering was made for the sins of the people.
Jesus became the new High Priest and sacrificed himself as the blood offering, transforming the Day of Atonement into Good Friday (he speaks of this in today’s Gospel passage). He also replaced the Temple itself with his own body, becoming the Holy of Holies on earth, as the Holy Spirit dwelled perfectly and completely within his flesh.
Today, we who are now the Body of Christ on earth are also temples of the Holy Spirit. But the door to the holy of holies within our hearts is not always open. When we close our hearts to others, we deny them the opportunity to experience the Holy Spirit reaching out to them through us.
In the first reading, we see that much good comes from God’s temple. Since we are temples of the Holy Spirit, goodness flows out into the world from God through us. Water in Ezekiel’s vision represents the Holy Spirit, the Giver of Life. Look at what happens when the Holy Spirit flows outward from our hearts: Instead of being like salty sea water that kills those who drink from the cup of our lives, the Spirit in us provides nourishment and life to others.
To be life-giving, we must first nourish our own hearts by soaking up the refreshing waters of the Holy Spirit. Desiring to be holy and wanting to do good is not enough. It’s easy to fall back into the old reactions and limitations of our sinful human nature. Our resistance to temptation is weak and we quickly succumb to worldly, unholy ways of dealing with stress and difficulties and relationships. Holiness requires great effort — more effort than we can muster by ourselves
We soak up the life of the Spirit whenever we purify our hearts by receiving Jesus in the Eucharist and by repenting of our sins in the Sacrament of Reconciliation and then by additionally taking time to pray and to listen for his quiet voice within. God’s Spirit refreshes us when we read and reflect on scripture, discuss our problems with faith-filled companions, or take action in the ministry of Christ.
As human temples built on Christ, we rely upon and give to others what the Holy Spirit gives to us. By imitating Jesus in ministering to the people around us, we build our lives with bricks and mortar that will last forever.
Thank You, my Lord, for dwelling in me and for giving all Your being to save my life. Amen.
© 2017 by Terry A. Modica